|A relative of someone I know took this photo|
of Volcan de Fuego today.
Our program is going well. We had lectures about suction pumps, ventilators, anesthesia machines, and medical gasses, and we started working on building our power supplies. We'll be spending lab this week making them into variable DC power supplies suitable for actual use! On Friday I took a group of five students back to the public Occidental hospital to work on more equipment. Apparently I had come away with an unrealistically rosy picture of the hospital last week. My host family assured me that despite some newer equipment, the hospital is poor and underequipped. Families of inpatients are often given prescriptions and told to go buy the meds at a pharmacy because they aren't available in the
hospital. Anyone who can afford it goes to the private hospitals. I haven't been to any but I'm told they're pretty nice. With that said, villagers sometimes travel for hours on end to visit the public hospital and their families even camp out front if they have nowhere else to stay.
|Laundry air-drying at the hospital.|
|Lots of tubing to sort out.|
But as engineers are wont to do, we worked to isolate the problem - tracing the air lines to see how far the pressurized air was getting. We had to take some of the dental chair apart to do this but in the end we discovered a pretty elegant mechanism. The pressurized air is forced through a very narrow channel. On the side of that channel there is an outlet port that connects to the suction tube. As the pressurized air flows past that port at high speeds, it creates negative pressure, which is the source of suction. All the liquids that are sucked up by the suction get pulled through that port and whooshed into a drain in the floor. Everything seemed to be mostly in order so we tried to clean all the tubing and valves as best we could, suspecting a small clog was to blame. Eventually we got it all back together and lo and behold: suction! The dentist was besides himself and was very grateful. I had a lot of fun because I got to take something apart and learn how it works. And the students had fun watching and learning too. Good times. The only downside was that I got really dirty. There is some unspeakable funk lurking inside tubes and valves that don't get cleaned very often. Needless to say I took an aggressive shower when I got home.
Earlier today I went to a barbecue fundraiser for an Australian lady who lives in town. She shelters dogs and has a monthly cookout to raise money for their care. I had an incredibly delicious plate of ribs and beans. I also got to taste an unusual drink. I don't remember what its called but its basically a Bloody Mary with beer instead of vodka. I enjoyed it - very refreshing and just perfect to wash down the ribs.
|This very adorable creature wanted to share my ribs.|
|A very satisfying lunch!|